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Archives for the day Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Foot care for runners

Take care of your feet.  They are the first thing to hit the ground every step you take when walking and running. We tend to forget about our feet because they are way down there at the ends of our bodies.  Some of us can’t even see our feet when we start running.

I will start this article by talking about socks because they are the cheapest.

Socks are a really important items.  Poor selection can cause serious problems when the mileage increases.  A lot of people are used to buying socks in packs of 3 for about $5.00.  It can be a real shock to the system to go to a running and store where they cost up to $10.00.  Spend the money.  Most good running stores have them available to try on.

Socks come in all styles and varieties.  The best advice I can give you is to try them on in the store and see how they feel.  I never know if I will like a sock until I try it on.  I reviewed some SofSole socks here a while ago and I absolutely love them.  They are pretty cheap considering they’re running socks.  I gave some away to a couple of readers who loved them.  The main reason the readers loved them is because they moved up to the high quality running socks.  It makes a big difference.  High quality socks conform to the feet, have thinner seams and wick the sweat away.

Now that you have some good socks, lets support those comfy things with high quality insoles.  I can hear you out there now telling yourselves that you don’t need no stinkin’ insoles.  “You” may not need insoles but for most of us they really help.  Inserts help absorb the impact of the ground evenly to help keep the bone motion consistent in your feet.

I alternate running shoes.  One pair of running shoes has SofSole inserts and the other has SuperFeet insoles.  My every day shoes have Red Wing insoles that are placed into the oven to soften up.  Then I stood in them to have them conform to my feet.  It may take a bit of research to get the right product on your foot but the inserts are worth the effort as they put some personal customization to your running shoes.

Running shoes are usually the most expensive things on your feet and they should be replaced often.  I used to replace my shoes every 300 miles.  Now that I use inserts, I get 500-600 miles out of a pair.  Every now and then, I will get a pair that crashes with only 100 miles on them then I hate that brand until I forget about the crash.  My best advice for shoes is to go to a running store like Roadrunner Sports or Transports and have them put you on the treadmill for examination.  A couple of minutes on the treadmill will let you know about your running style and what type of shoes you should wear.  Most running stores have the shoes broken up by running style to make your selection easier.

Typically, I will buy my first pair of shoes at the running shop then go to a discount store to buy older models of shoes for my running style.  I don’t like to spend $150 for running shoes every 1-3 months.  If I could afford it, I would buy all of my merchandise from the running stores because they are so helpful.

On to hygiene – Keep your feet clean and your toe nails trimmed.  It is amazing how many bad things we can do to our feet that can have an adverse effect on our athletic lifestyle.  If you go to a gym, wear shower shoes that you clean often.  Let the shoes dry between use.  At the first sign of athlete’s foot, begin treatment.  Do not let it go until the skin starts to peel.  If you do get any dermatological problems with your feet, wash often and wear closed toe shoes as little as possible.  Treat blisters just as carefully.  When you trim your toe nails, get down there and get personal with them.

If you can’t reach your toes, take some yoga classes to improve your flexibility, then get personal with your toes.  Don’t just clip your toe nails and leave the sharp edges to catch on the next toe or to bump into the shoe.  File the nails down so they are nice and pretty.  If you are prone to blisters, try some athlete glide or Vaseline on the spot that is sticking.  Eventually your feet will get tough and you will get fewer blisters unless you try something new on a long run.  Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.

Video: Recovery Run Ideas

If you want to learn recovery running advice, who better to learn it from than one of the best runners in the United States?   Marathoner Josh Cox, who currently holds the American 50K record, knows something about recovery (especially after longer, faster tempo runs).

Recovery runs are an interesting topic that some athletes simply avoid.  I’m working on a standalone article related to recovery running, but will just post a few helpful links for you:’s guide to recovery running.

A Trail Runner’s Blog — This is a great blog.  If you don’t read it already, I strongly recommend occasionally reading this blog.  Anyway, the blog entry discussing post-race ideas and recovery tips is a solid one.

This article discusses what you (and your body) can expect after running a marathon.